Dread, it seems to pervade my life in dealing with this new order. Dreading appointments, dreading being given appointments, dreading travelling to appointments, dreading having to wait an hour in the cold for the next bus home after the appointment, dreading whether my benefit will be stopped, dreading whether i have to do this or that. This is what the DWP brings out in me and it's completely beyond their remit of help and assistance.
I don't feel I can deal with the Salvation Army any more, but I have to.
The problem is that appointments with my adviser, all 2 of them, do not comprise a meeting of equals in an atmosphere of support and compassion. They consist of suspicion and expectation; they are punitive. It seems beyond them to ask "is this person suffering? does this person need proper help? what can we do?". Instead it's "you are making excuses, why?", it seeks to chastise.
When I speak to my adviser I don't feel I can be honest and open. He has demonstrated that he isn't interested; when I told him what I was interested in it was thrown back in my face and I was told "that's a long term career goal - we need to focus on your short term career goals". These are terms used without definition but with the assumption their meaning is obvious. In fact short term goals is code for "we are only interested in what your JSAg says, and nothing you can say will change that".He demonstrated he wasn't capable by telling me that his organisation has no training or capability to deal with health matters, whatever they may be. I was told (not asked) that I should have a support worker present, but that's only because it protects him from being held liable by me for anything I might say. However they have to deal with people on ESA (like me, now) that thus have issues.
When speaking I feel that not only do I have to guard myself and watch what I say, lest it trigger some unforeseen bureaucratic consequence, for example saying what is on my JSAg and then finding that's all they are prepared to even consider. I have to anticipate what the adviser is thinking and I have to consider that, because he isn't acting in my best interests, he is working against me. Normally that would sound like rampant paranoia, but the Work Programme is not motivated by getting me into a better and self sufficient place in life with a good career (or whatever), it's about pursuing targets and making money. So as I talk to him I know that, in his mind, that's how he's processing our interaction. That in terms sets me on the defencive with the consequence that I am accused of...being guarded - as if that is only ever a bad thing. Of course it's not; life is complex and interaction, as this proves, is not always without ulterior motives. Consequently one must have some form of defence mechanism, but even that is not safe from their attention.
I do not believe these people are acting in my best interests, obviously, but more than that I don't believe that can ever change. I think the advisers, being merely part of the system, cannot change their programming. It would be like asking a predator to stop eating meat. Now I have my appointment on Monday and I will have to, I'm assuming, explain myself. I have no doubt that my adviser, having presumably received wind of my complaint, will have said that I'm lazy and that I make excuses.
Therein lies the problem: that will be the default conclusion, because, as I've explained, that's systemically how the Work Programme operates. They claim to have even spoken to the Work Psychologist (which I'm not convinced about, but I have to assume it's true) so they know that there are issues there, yet they are ignored. They tell me that "you're on JSA, we can't help you", that my issues are simply ignored while they wear their 'JSA goggles'. They cannot operate under a paradigm that presumes the customer isn't lying, skiving, or that their problems aren't anything that can't be solved by them applying for jobs on my behalf. At best it subscribes to ridiculous arbeit macht frei notions that only benefit the money makers.
Watch this video diary from a young graduate, having studied genetics I gather, posted by the Guardian. At the outset he sounds positive; he regards his first experience well. But from that moment on it turns around completely and he soon seems to lose hope. There is a follow up video where he talks about ending up with a diagnosis of, if not akin to, clinical depression! This is a scientist; a person that's studied. Why is he not out curing cancer? Nope, instead the profiteering bureaucracy hired by the government is only interested in 'short term goals'. It will be as much a success, in their eyes, as curing cancer if he ends up stacking shelves like the rest of the country's graduates in some pound shop.